Whether it’s a thunderstorm, tornado or flooding, severe weather can be detrimental not only to your wellbeing, but also to your property and neighborhood. If severe weather threatens your area, keep in mind these FEMA guidelines.
1. Become familiar with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe weather hazards include the following:
- Watch: Meteorologists are monitoring an area or region for the formation of a specific type of threat (e.g. flooding, severe thunderstorms, or tornados).
- Warning: Specific life and property threatening conditions are occurring and imminent. Take appropriate safety precautions.
2. To prepare for power outages and the disruption of essential services, prepare an emergency supply kit for their homes and cars. When preparing a kit, remember water, medications, and items needed for the well-being of your pets.
3. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. Residents of mobile homes must plan in advance and identify safe shelter in a nearby building.
4. While community safe rooms offer significant reassurance and protection during a severe weather event, always make the safe and certain choice about where to seek shelter – particularly if there is little time to travel to the location of the community safe room. It is always best to seek shelter in your basement or in the lowest possible structure in your residence if time and warning are limited when severe weather hits.
5. Know your surroundings and your structures if you’re planning to attend an event, take a vacation, visit family, or if you are staying in a location other than your home like a hotel, campground or cabin. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the facility’s emergency plans including sirens and warnings, how to shelter in place, and steps to be taken in the event of an evacuation.
6. Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
7. After a disaster, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards before going back to a property with downed power lines or the possibility of a gas leak. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
8. Staying informed is equally important when preparing for any emergency, particularly severe weather threats. In addition to monitoring the guidance and reports of local emergency and weather officials, monitor social media before, during and after emergencies. Consider following the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram handles of your local emergency management office, as well as hospitals, schools and voluntary organizations that serve your community.